This August the Edinburgh Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. To mark the occasion, we have asked a plethora of performers about their personal Fringe experiences. Today we hear from another of our past ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winners, musician and storyteller Daniel Cainer.

CLICK HERE to read Daniel Cainer's answers to the Quick Quiz.

Daniel performs 'More Gefilte Fish and Chips' at Underbelly George Square, until 28 Aug. 

Three recommended shows to see on Saturday 26 Aug...

Cacophony | Sweet Holyrood | 7.30pm
'Cacophony' is "one of those brilliantly bewildering shows you only really get at Fringe festivals", say we. "I can't tell you what was going on", our reviewer admits. "I can't tell you what it means, or if it even means anything at all. But I can tell you I had a really good time". 

Elf Lyons: Swan | Underbelly Med Quad | 9.30pm
Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Elf Lyons "tears down the snobbery surrounding ballet in this hysterical tour de force", our review declares. "It's adaptation on another level, clowning at its most accessible, and just amazing". Go see! 

The Narrator | ZOO Southside | 10.00pm (pictured)
This is "a highly visual piece with an outstanding physicality", reckons our reviewer. "An astonishingly beautifully designed, breathtakingly powerful performance". Definitely recommended. 


Tomás Ford: Craptacular (Civil Disobedience)
Do you like costume changes, loud music and fun? Then this is probably the show for you! Tomás Ford presents an hour of pop songs in his high energy, passionate tribute to just about everything. Copious things go wrong - knocked over projectors, missing pieces of costume - but none of that mattered, it only added to the sheer whirlwind force of it all. A brilliant and endearing performer, Ford uses his vocal talents to really make the show, as he remixes his way through some of pop's trashiest offerings. There's a fair amount of audience participation, so it won't be for everyone, but this cabaret pop extravaganza is a truly joyous hour that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]


Chris Martin: The One And Only Chris Martin (So Comedy)
Chris Martin, self-proclaimed "good boy", has an affable demeanour on stage that makes him hard not to like. He delivers the typical observational and anecdotal comedy set, but his jokes are well-crafted and slick and, despite it not being particularly original, I still found myself laughing throughout. Martin maintains his "good boy" status here, being kind and good-natured in his humour, while his self-deprecating jokes about his own need for reassurance are particularly charming and relatable. His management of the audience is excellent, dealing expertly with hecklers and riffing well with the room. If you're looking for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, perhaps with family members, this is an ideal show.
Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Spontaneous Sherlock (Spontaneous Sherlock / PBH Free Fringe)
The premise is simple. Each audience member is given a piece of paper saying "Sherlock Holmes and the..." We fill in the gap. The pieces of paper are drawn out of a hat, and from there, the utterly bizarre improvisation ensues. We were treated to an evening based around the 'Hallow Corpse', featuring dodgy autopsies, the death of Watson's father (which Watson himself seemed particularly unfazed by) and corpses whose blood contained a "special juice" which could be used for world domination. With ridiculous plots and a constant stream of gags, these witty performers induced side-splitting laughter across the entirety of the performance. This is what improvisation should be - imaginative and absolutely barmy. You need to go and experience it yourself.
Liquid Room Annexe, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Alasdair Beckett-King: The Alasdair Beckett-King Mysteries (Mick Perrin Worldwide)
Proving you don't need to swear to get laughs, Alasdair Beckett-King's debut show is a wonderful hour of gentle comedy that would feel at home on Radio 4. Welcoming us, the two sides of his family - the Becketts and the Kings - to the show, what he examines are less "mysteries" and more just diverse topics. He covers health and safety posters from communist Romania, dictators and their pets, the problem with cartoon chickens on chicken restaurant signs, and why bacon and Hitler are the two worst things about being a vegan. In other hands this could feel like just a disparate collection of subjects, but Beckett-King has an ease that makes this a thoroughly enjoyable, positive and uplifting hour.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Richard Levinson]

Chris Washington: Dream Big (Within Reason)
There is a place for angst-free, amiable young northerners telling gently amusing anecdotes about their lack of ambition. Whether that place is a full hour at the Fringe is questionable, but Chris Washington gives it a fair and enthusiastic bash with these assorted tales from his life as, well, an angst-free, amiable young northerner. There are some clever lines about cars, taxi queues and crap paternal advice - "dadvice" - plus a slightly incongruous bit about the menopause. It's kind of like the slower bits of a Jason Manford set (make of that what you will). He is, by his own reckoning, just delighted to be here with an audience and that audience seems pretty pleased with him too.
Just The Tonic at the Mash House, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

GayShit (Wayne Carter)
Drag Queen Wayne Carter hosts this eclectic cabaret of LGBTQ performers. The line-up for the show changes each night, with most seeming to be taking to the stage to publicise their own shows elsewhere at the Fringe. On the night I went, 'GayShit' included a few stand-ups, burlesque dancers and a comedic singing duo. The comedic abilities of the acts varied - some missing the mark slightly, others getting a laugh a line - whilst the burlesque performance to 'Send in the Clowns' was more of a sombre affair by contrast. It's a really varied show, but fun is the main focus for the evening and Wayne Carter, the only constant, makes sure that it's entertaining.
Just The Tonic at The Caves, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Emily Mildren]

Ian Smith: Snowflake (Bound And Gagged Comedy)
The title of Ian Smith's show is a little misleading; it has nothing to do with the fashionable political pejorative, and more to do with the weather in Norway, where he recently holidayed. Such awkward coincidence conveniently suits Smith's persona of comic victimhood, as he directs his nervous frustration towards the various farces of his life - shopping, neighbours, romance. Some set-pieces feel slightly familiar, but he periodically abandons the formulaic for the absurd, teasing the audience and revealing a fondness for invention and play; someone in the front row interrupts a joke to walk to the toilet, so he steals their coat while they're gone. In the end, the audience is charmed by his endearing Yorkshire whimsy, his instinct for the ridiculous and by the interconnectedness of human foibles.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [John Maier]

The Inane Chicanery Of A Certain Adam GC Riches (Tigco)
Spending an hour in the company of a certain Adam Riches will leave you feeling slightly weird and exhausted, but only in the best possible way. Avoid the front row if you don't want to become a victim of this intense hour, which is filled with outlandish, eccentric and downright ridiculous character-driven comedy sketches. Particular highlights from this set include a calligrapher with no arms but a deep love of handwriting, a Gerard Butler spoof, and a man with unusual mouth organ playing methods. The skits are utterly absurd, and undoubtedly farcical, but it's his sheer unrelenting energy and enthusiasm that ultimately make 'The Inane Chicanery' a comedic goldmine.
Pleasance Dome, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Shazia Mirza, With Love from St Tropez (MTM Productions)
First things first, there is great stuff in here. There are super-sharp digs in a dizzying array of directions, as Mirza discusses being brown and British at a time where Brexit, Trump et al have seemingly enabled a smattering of racist fuckwits. Also a takedown I hadn't realised was needed of the folly of sparkly buttplugs. Unfortunately, though, on this soggy last Tuesday of the Fringe, Mirza lets her disappointment at the small, reserved crowd shine through, rather churlishly blaming them for gags that failed to land (rightly so? About 50-50, I'd say - by no means all gold). Better with a better audience no doubt but that, frankly, wasn't the fault of those who had bothered to turn up.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bruce Blacklaw]

Tom Neenan: Attenborough (Berk's Nest)
ThreeWeeks gave Tom Neenan's 'Vaudeville' a well-deserved five stars last year. For his follow-up character comedy show, he's decided to tell the story of a young David Attenborough, searching for Bigfoot in order to make a new BBC documentary. A natural storyteller, Neenan quickly dispenses with the Attenborough impression to settle into a series of characters he meets along the way, including a posh BBC executive, a South African poacher and a marmoset. The use of Powerpoint to illustrate the story is done well, and the jokes come thick and fast - many in the slides themselves. Whilst not quite at the level of last year's show, this is still a highly entertaining hour, accessible to all ages.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Richard Levinson]

Broke As A Joke (Danny Lobell)
Danny Lobell's stories of financial insecurity, whether they're about his short-lived experience as a cat breeder, or how far one can take Costco's returns policy, are as hilarious as they are incredible. He's a captivating storyteller, bringing his tales to life with impressions of the unique characters he's met. Lobell is well-honed in his craft, timing his jokes with expert precision. His hair-brained schemes to get rich quick never fail to amuse, but it was the absurdity of a joke about his relationship with his new pet tortoise that really had me in absolute stitches. His good humour and sunny disposition shine through in his stories, leaving his audience grinning from ear to ear.
theSpace @ Jury's Inn, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

Adrian Minkowicz: Best Newcomer (Double The Bet / PBH's Free Fringe)
The premise here is that Adrian Minkowicz has decided he's going to win the Best Newcomer Award at the Fringe, but hasn't actually considered what he's going to do in the show yet. The hour itself alternates between live stand-up and videos of his discussions with other comedians (such as Phil Nichol and Tiernan Douieb) about how to put together a comedy show. Minkowicz is Argentinian and has some good observational material in here about accents, the Falkland Islands, colonialism and the use of music in films. But a rape joke towards the end and the interruption of the videos spoil the flow, meaning this show is unlikely to win the award he covets.
Banshee Labyrinth, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Richard Levinson]


Elixir (Underbelly and Head First Acrobats)
Zombies are on the loose, so down at the Elixir Corporation lab they're testing out different potions to find a cure. The vials of coloured liquid have different effects on the trio from Head First Acrobats, but all are aimed at enhancing strength and dexterity. Gravity-defying acrobatics and comedy come in spades in this raucous show. What sets 'Elixir' apart is their unusual narrative and unashamed clowning, unafraid to poke fun at both themselves and members of the audience. It sometimes feels there is an over-reliance on displaying their toned physiques, but it's all very tongue-in-cheek and the audience were only too happy to oblige in celebrating them. Quirky, silly and undoubtedly impressive, this is great late night entertainment.
Underbelly's Circus Hub on The Meadows, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Tribe (Temper Theatre)
Temper Theatre are establishing themselves as an incredibly impressive ensemble, who immerse audiences in imaginative worlds through their use of dynamic, stylized movement, resulting in utterly compelling physical theatre. 'Tribe' centres around the protagonist Ru, who finds himself stuck in an all too familiar nightmarish world, filled with corporate offices and meaningless interactions. As the story unfolds, he starts to uncover his heritage as part of an indigenous tribal community, culminating in a very poignant story which feels particularly topical in our current political climate. With a minimalistic, stark set, it is their raw and primal physicality which is the focus, alongside an imposing soundscape that helps to create these visceral realms and worlds. An engaging and relevant topic, which is executed exceptionally.
ZOO Southside, until 12 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Death In Venice (Edinburgh Ballet Circle)
Edinburgh Ballet Circle bring Thomas Mann's novella 'Death in Venice' to the Fringe. With a such a large cast on stage for the whole production, the space can feel overcrowded and there isn't enough room to see the talents of the dancers unrestricted. 'Death in Venice' tells the story of Dr Aschenbach and his fixation with the young Tadzio, the doctor watching him as he swims in a lagoon, unaware of the approaching dangers of the fast-spreading cholera plague. This is a complex tale of desire told through precise and beautifully choreographed movements, though the story was frequently hard to follow. Overall, though, an elegant production, the costumes and props fitting well with the feel of the piece and setting the tone for the delicate performances.
Greenside @ Nicolson Square, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]


Echoes And Traces (Cappella Nova)
This was a magical evening of new choral music by eight Scottish composers inspired by 'Nobilis Humilis', an early plainchant piece honouring Orkney's murdered Viking Saint, Magnus. Cappella Nova sang this complex, contemporary music with great skill and sensitivity; they were particularly impressive using a range of unusual, cutting-edge vocal techniques, required by the composers to express a mixture of tragedy and rejoicing within the work. Orkney is a collection of islands with a common thread (as are these compositions) - and this is what I took from 'Echoes and Traces'. For me the overwhelming conjured presence was the landscape of Orkney - enduring, remote, bleak, dramatic - which in busy central Edinburgh is quite an achievement for both composers and performers!
Greyfriars Kirk and St Giles Cathedral, until 25 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]

SoftLOUD (Sean Shibe)
"I can't compose, but I can program" said virtuoso guitarist Sean Shibe, referring to the computer-generated aspects of his extraordinary musical arrangements. The LOUD section, he continued, was about expressing political anger; before lifting me off my feet with his arrangement of Wolfe's composition 'Lad', originally scored for nine bagpipes, relentless in its increasing intensity and volume, and so weird I became fascinated by it. The soft part of 'softLOUD' was hauntingly lovely; gentle, wonderful acoustic explorations of early and modern melodic works. These ranged from lute music to Maxwell-Davies - sometimes the guitar barely whispered, and to play so quietly for an audience takes courage. He combined meticulous technique with an avant garde soul - go hear him!
theSpace on Niddry St, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]


Douze (X And Co in association with 21 Theatre)
Enthusiastic 'Eurovision' hopefuls Xnthony and The Penny Slots are here to entertain you! With a whole host of catchy pop songs, they need your help to choose which one will take them all the way to Lisbon 2018 - and just when you thought you'd finally left the ballot papers behind. High hopes and high energy, this is one sweaty hour of tongue-in-cheek Euro comedy, with brilliantly funny performances from Anthony Fisher, Tiffany Murphy and Hannah Fisher. With all their potential hits belted out with full force, and featuring hilarious dance routines, this is one performance you will not forget. If you like 'Eurovision', then you're going to love this infectiously entertaining show.
C Royale, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Bethan Highgate-Betts]


Bin Laden: The One Man Show (Knaive Theatre)
Walking in to a set-up that initially appeared to be a tea and biscuit convention was certainly unexpected, but this is just one of the many ways in which our preconceptions are cleverly challenged by this production. Actor and writer Sam Readway takes on the role of Osama Bin Laden with an honest conviction and, with flipchart at the ready, he attempts to navigate us through the six steps to "changing the world". The writing is intelligent, dealing with both Bin Laden's own personal life and the wider issues concerning the complexities of Middle Eastern/Western politics. Although theatrically this is not the most sophisticated production, it still makes for incredibly important viewing. An ambitious piece of theatre, which boldly tackles provocative issues and, ultimately, opens up a vital discussion.
C, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Above the Mealy-mouthed Sea (Unholy Mess in association with Omnibus)
It's hard not to like performance poet Jemima Foxtrot, with her infectious smile, easy ardour, and craggy singing voice. But it is also hard not to wish that her piece had more discipline and focus. It's a tumble of vague sea-related tales, peculiar characters, and odd recollections: there's space for a plot line strangely lifted from an episode of 'The Simpsons', as well as a very slowly unfolding foul-mouthed joke. Throughout, there are musical interludes in which Foxtrot's voice is digitally coiled into rich textures, sounding like eerie variations on old sea shanties. These various strands coalesce like the sea foam that settles on the beach: elegant, disquieting somehow, but too insubstantial to linger long.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Alexander Hartley]

Out Of Love (Paines Plough, Theatr Clwyd and Orange Tree)
Elinor Cook has previously proved herself to be an incredibly promising playwright, and this masterfully subtle piece of new writing is certainly a testament to that. 'Out of Love' is a sincere, honest examination of female friendship in all its intensity, the story focused around the experiences of childhood friends Lorna and Grace. Non-linear scenes are strung together, as we flit between different stages of these women's lives, from sexual awakenings to innocent nights spent star-gazing. And as their lives evolve in entirely different ways, a highly complex relationship gradually unfolds, deftly depicted through the witty, heartfelt writing and exceptional performances. This is theatre at its most intimate,which grips your heart and mind long after the show has finished.
Roundabout @ Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Performers (Performers Ltd)
London in the 1960s is a hive of different subcultures, and in this new play by Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh, community, identity and change are contrasted, as two East End gangsters audition for the arthouse crime film 'Performance'. Sitting in the auditions office, the two men wait as the director is delayed. As they fill in the silence, the audience is drawn into the minutiae of their daily lives and dramas, until eventually the New Age director's assistant appears and the men discuss art, temperament and the artistic nature. Intricate set design matches impressive writing to deliver a comprehensive show. Marked by four strong performances and the colourful vernacular of the East End, this is a subtle and attractive piece.
Assembly Rooms, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [James Napleton]

Cosmic Scallies (Graeae Theatre Company and Royal Exchange Theatre)
This two-hander is the latest piece from Disabled-led company Graeae Theatre, which, at its heart, tells the tender, touching story of an unlikely friendship. Childhood friends Dent and Shaun haven't seen each other in ten years, until Dent returns to Skelmersdale in chronic pain. Dent is unable to walk properly and in urgent need of a prescription, but she's reluctant to receive help from Shaun, despite having no other options. This is the main crux of the play, but the narrative never really progresses, resulting in a lack of substance and a plot that could benefit from more development. Still, the performances are sincere and authentic, and the witty, sharp dialogue makes for an engaging, heart-warming play.
Northern Stage at Summerhall, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Amy Bonar]

DollyWould (Sh!t Theatre with Show And Tell)
Would Dolly? Could Dolly? Who the hell even is Dolly? A country singer? A sheep? A drag queen? They may not have all the answers, but Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit absolutely love Dolly Parton. This multi-faceted performance pays homage to the woman herself, covering life, death, immortality and existence itself, via trips to DollyWood and the University of Tennessee body farm. Claiming that this is their mainstream crossover, it is a step away from their typically politicised productions, but it's as clever, funny and oddly relatable as any of their previous work. Expect nothing less than their usual twisted silliness, from musical numbers featuring quotes from a Dolly Parton interview, to giant dancing boobs and Dolly the Sheep impersonations.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 5/5 | [Daisy Malt]

Joan (Milk Presents)
This rambunctious play follows the short, tragic life of Joan of Arc, while channelling contemporary issues of gender, sex and class. Joan, played by Lucy Jane Parkinson, uses parodic songs to impersonate men, from her father to King Charles VII, showing her desire to escape their controlling influences. While Joan's journey is propelled by a fixation with St. Catherine, the ethereal icon proves hard to track down. Performed in the round in a mock club, this is a cabaret-driven work of theatre, and this set design makes up for some structural weaknesses in the script, by enhancing the intimate connection the performer creates with the audience. Despite the untidiness of the underlying analogy, 'Joan' is a gripping and frenetic watch.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [James Napleton]

The Shape Of The Pain (China Plate, Rachel Bagshaw and Chris Thorpe)
This artistic and scientific collaboration is an innovative new production, seeking to dissect the nature of Complex regional pain syndrome. Based on director Rachel Bagshaw's experience of the condition, this one-woman show (performed by Hannah McPake) discusses the nature of a constant, physical pain that has no apparent cause, and is difficult to articulate. This inexplicability is explored through inventive and highly experimental soundscapes, projections and lighting design, which merge throughout to create an immersive, visceral experience that, at times, is deeply perturbing. However, the narrative begins to stagnate and ultimately, although it is interesting, I was left feeling emotionally numb. Nonetheless, this is an important show, which tackles a multitude of complex notions, and will certainly raise questions.
Summerhall, until 26 Aug
tw rating 3/5 | [Amy Bonar]

Things We Find In The Dark (Echo Echo Echo)
We have all, at some point, felt uneasy when confronted with total darkness. Echo Echo Echo channel this instinctive fear into a visual feast of shadow play and theatre that excites but ultimately falls short. Sam, a young boy, is forced into a strange and uncertain world to pursue the dark, shadowy figure who had stolen his night light. A fantastical journey follows, as Sam makes his way through the gloomy wilderness. The union of lights, puppets and music is often powerfully theatrical and this performance is technically excellent. However, over-exaggerated gesture and narrative cliche prevents the sinister magic from ever truly breaking free. This stylish production is brimming with potential yet to be unleashed.
ZOO, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [James Napleton]

What Goes On In Front Of Closed Doors (Joue Le Genre / Noel Gay Artists)
With young homelessness on the rise across the UK, joue le genre taps into a much needed conversation with this piece of new writing. Emma Bentley truly owns the stage with her heartbreaking portrayal of the young and vulnerable Molly. The first half of the play is a little unstructured and I was unsure where it was going, but as the climax builds the play finds its rhythm and pace. The sound design was particularly effective in creating atmosphere and tension throughout. The show approaches a difficult subject matter with honesty and empathy, offering an unflinching gaze at the practical details of being homeless without ever feeling like it's preaching, and for that I cannot applaud it enough.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

The Pitchfork Disney (Gone Rogue Productions)
Philip Ridley's modern classic features two siblings, infantilised after the death of their parents - living on chocolate and retelling the same, comforting stories over and over. Their safe, repetitive lives are challenged, however, when the brother's imagination conjures up Cosmo and Pitchfork, two very intimidating, highly unpredictable characters. The writing is deliberately uncomfortable, by turns grotesque, tender and macabre. The young cast perform well, their acting visceral in the heightened intensity of the intimate staging, though the best interactions are between the siblings in the first half of the play. Unfortunately, this piece just isn't designed for the Fringe. One hour and 40 minutes in a sweaty black box is just too long to fully hold my attention throughout.
C Royale, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Gemma Scott]

Columns (The Wax House Theatre Company)
As we enter the room we're greeted by Laura Day playing the guitar, whilst she and Alexander Hartley casually chat with the audience. This sets the perfect tone for the show: low key, but well constructed and entertaining. The duo play a range of endearing village characters, mostly very well. Whether it's Sophie with her "side hustle" selling trainers, or her father Lindsey constantly telling customers about his Lynchian dreams, all the characters in this show are lovably quirky. 'Columns' draws on our need for closure, and the tension between 'good' and 'bad' lies. It's also a clever bit of storytelling, offering lovely little glimmers of positivity and hope throughout.
theSpace on the Mile, until 26 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Lizzie Milton]

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